|Tom Tancredo has pressed the debate on illegal immigration.|
Representative Tom Tancredo, whose forceful opposition to illegal immigration vaulted him to national prominence, plans to announce he is abandoning his long-shot bid for the Republican presidential primary, a person close to the candidate said yesterday.
The campaign office of the five-term Colorado congressman scheduled a major announcement this afternoon in Des Moines. Tancredo plans to announce his withdrawal then, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity, lacking authorization to speak for Tancredo or his campaign.
Tancredo, who has consistently polled at the back of the nine-person GOP field, has based his campaign on opposition to illegal immigration, a top issue for Republicans in Iowa and many areas of the country. He has run controversial television ads that link lax border security to terrorist attacks, rape, and other crimes.
At a recent GOP debate, he took credit for other candidates' tough talk and proposals on illegal immigration, quipping, "All I've heard is people trying to out-Tancredo Tancredo."
In July, he took credit for some of the political woes that have befallen Senator John McCain, once the front-runner in the GOP race. Tancredo has hammered McCain in Iowa and other states for supporting the failed immigration bill in Congress.
Tancredo wants the military to patrol US borders and employers to be required to prove a need for short-term foreign workers.
He announced in October that he would not seek a sixth term in Congress, but hinted he would consider running for the Senate after his presidential bid.